Sunday, December 28, 2008

Remember that Pumpkin?

That single solitary Kent pumpkin? The paltry end result of three vines producing a zillion male flowers and only one female flower over an entire summer?

It sacrificed itself in a very good cause - lunch on Christmas Day:

And it was scrummy. Nothing roasts as wonderfully as a Kent pumpkin.

More next summer, please, Garden God.

You know it really is winter ...

... when the first snow falls on your Tuscan garden.

The strawbs snuggle up under their fleece blanket:

The broad beans tough it out:

As does the garlic:

And the lemon tree shivers inside its overcoat:

In five months time, it will be 35C.

Variety is the spice.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

One good thing about winter

Harvesting parsnips!

In Italian, parsnip is known as pastinaca. But try to find one anywhere in central or southern Italy. They're virtually unknown. Lorenzo, our neighbour, didn't even recognise the photo on the seed packet. His wife, Marina, did. She had seen them in Prague. But never tried them.

They're known in the north, especially around Parma, because they're fed to the pig population, source of the glorious Parma ham. A noble cause, but the locals don't know what they're missing out on.

I feel a bit like Emperor Tiberius. It's said that he brought parsnips to Rome from France and Germany.

Well, a couple of thousand years later, I'm bringing them to central Italy.